SupercapaciTorS: Will They replace BaTTerieS?
a supercapacitor along with conventional battery can be a better electrical energy storage device than the battery alone
focus on energy storage devices, particularly pulse power devices such as supercapacitors.

Types of smart eeS
The various smart EES systems can be categorised based on their function and form. High-power, low-energy devices can be categorised by function, whereas high-energy, low-power systems can be categorised by form. Although electricity is not easy to store cheaply, it can be easily stored in other forms and converted back into electricity when needed. Storage technologies for electricity can also be classified by the form of storage: Electrical energy storage. Electrostatic energy storage includes capacitors and supercapacitors, and magnetic/current energy storage includes superconducting magnetic energy storage. Mechanical energy storage. Kinetic energy storage includes flywheel-pumped hydroelectric storage, compressed-air energy storage and potential energy storage systems. Chemical energy storage. Chemical energy is stored in batteries such as lead-acid batteries, nickel-cadmium (NiCd) batteries, sodium sulfur (NaS) batteries, sodium nickel chloride batteries, lithium-ion batteries and fuel cells. Thermal energy storage. Low- or high-temperature energy is stored through devices like solar fuels. Of these, chemical energy storage devices are the most suitable for DC power storage. Supercapacitors make

Dr D.B. Talange


elivery of electrical power is becoming an increasingly complex task for engineers and policy makers alike. The electricity systems are poised to change in order to accommodate increasing levels of distributed storage and utilisation. These complexities are being recognised internationally for alternatingcurrent systems. But there is need to look beyond it as most consumer applications use direct-current supply and hence the smart energy delivery system concept is required to be extended to low- and medium-power direct-current systems. Electrical energy storage (EES) refers to the process of converting electrical energy from a power source
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into an electrical or non-electrical form that can be stored for converting back into electrical energy as per requirement. This process enables electricity to be produced at times of either low demand, low generation cost or from intermittent energy sources, and used at times of high demand, high generation cost or unavailability of other generation means. Smart EES has numerous applications in portable devices, transport vehicles, stationary energy resources, etc. EES becomes more important in situations where we produce large amount of electricity from timedependant energy sources like wind and solar. Smart EES has to consider generation, transmission/distribution, energy management system and renewable energy. Research should

e l e c t ro n i c s f o r yo u • N o v e m b e r 2 0 1 0 • 9 9

the starter motor applications draws a very large current from the lead-acid battery. high ESMA. Russia (for power quality applications) power applications.5V (limit due to electrolyte stability) 2. thereby reducing the load on the battery. Rover. a battery. Supercapacitors: ideal for When you start the engine of an autoshort-duration high-power matic-start vehicle. Very long shelf and working life (theoretically no limit!) 7. e f y m ag . also called ultralife of the battery. Very high capacitance 4. Depending on their design and construction. Korea new paradigm in energy storage. Canada especially for short-duration. Today. State of charge present is a direct function of the output voltage 6. Small over-charging is not a problem 9. USA (for automobiles)  Kold Ban International. Linear charging and discharging (up to 0V) 5. 1 shows how supercapacitors (Boostcap by Maxwell) and lithium-ion batteries are approaching top right of the graph. Volkswagen and Daimler-Chysler are using supercapacitors in their electric vehicles and electric hybrid vehicles. ence and nanotechnology that allow A supercapaitor can fulfil the requireconstruction of stacks of thin intercon- Some leading manufacturers of supercapacitors 1 0 0 • N o v e m b e r 2 0 1 0 • e l e c t ro n i c s f o r yo u . High power and moderate energy density 2. These  Maxwell Technologies. High cost 3. Such values can Cooperet. Each cell can give 1V to 2. Rapid discharge at severe rate increases the temparature 8. Australia capacitors. the specific power of supercapacitors use of chemical energy for charge storcan be ten to 100 times higher than of age based on electrostatic principle. Low energy density 5. USA (for automobiles) thousand farads. Direct short circuit is not fatal 8. Various electrical energy w w w.Power Supercapacitors: Advantages & disadvantages Advantages 1. which unnecessarily inremarkable advances in material scicreases the battery size requirement. Very fast charging and discharging 3. Regon’s plot in Fig.  Tavrima. have been the subject current of the starter motor. USA devices can be manufactured  EPCOS. Such a of focused R&D efforts for the past two high current is not required except decades. Japan (for memory backups) lent series resistors (ESRs). increasing its life and reducing the battery size. This high current capacitors or electrochemical doublerequirement is due to high starting layer capacitors. which reduces the Supercapacitors. USA (for automobiles) hundred farads and even several  ELNA. It loses 2 per cent energy per day in self-discharge ment of high starting current. Germany with capacitance values of several  Evans Capacitor. Renaults. your dependency on the IC engine and hence fossil fuels will reduce. Japan (for memory backups) activated carbon. and low equiva Panasonic. it is available up to 5000F. If this combination achieves power and energy density of the internal combustion engine. 1: Regon’s plot showing energy density vs power density of various energy storage devices nected electrochemical cells with very high surface-area electrodes which are generally made up of  NEC. This translates into a  Ness Capacitor. Leading car manufacturers such as Volvo. which makes them complex to develop Supercapacitors are mainly used and use. co m Fig. Peak power is limited by equivalent series resistance (ESR) 6. for pulse power supply requirements. 220V 10. Time constant is small (1-2 second only) 7. Opel. Australia not be imagined in conventional  CAP-XX. Operating temperature is up to 65 degrees 10. Very fast discharging 4. Complete discharge takes a few hours 9. This has been facilitated by for starting. Series current-limiting resistor is not required as it accept charges as much as you supply Disadvantages 1.

Output voltage and output current e l e c t ro n i c s f o r yo u • N o v e m b e r 2 0 1 0 • 1 0 1 . 2 shows the block diagram of w w w. Trade-off between energy and power 2. The combination of a primary energy source and an ultracapacitor takes care of the average power and peak power demand. Considering various parameters of the supercapacitor. Quick-charge applications— charging in seconds and discharging in minutes (required for power tools and toys) 2. Summing up Energy storage is a persistent problem in electrical systems. but electrical energy can be stored only in two fundamentally different ways: battery and capacitor.000 5 5-10 <75% to >95% $10-20/Wh $15-30/kW power flow in typical electrical vehicles. 3: Concept car using Li-ion battery pack with ultracapacitor module Li-ion Battery vs Electrochemical or Supercapacitor Characteristic Charge time Discharge time Cycle life Specific energy (Wh/kg) Specific power (kW/kg) Cycle efficiency (per cent) Cost/Wh Cost/kW State-of-the-art Lithium-ion battery 3-5 minutes 3-5 minutes <5000 @ 1C rate 50-100 1-2 <50% to >90% $0. Time constant (ESR and capacitance value) 3. 3 shows the concept car having the Li-ion battery pack with ultracapacitor. Computer memory backups— low-current. Though the supercapacitor technology is at present in infancy. Supporting power buses while switching 7. Solar array (energy-rich. Fig.5-1/Wh $50-150/kW Electrochemical capacitor 1 second 1 second >500. poor power source) 6.  The author is a professor in Electrical Engineering Department of Government College of Engineering. it will be the nextgeneration EES device. There are many energy storage systems. co m 1. It has been found that a supercapacitor along with conventional battery can be a better electrical energy storage device than the battery alone. e f y m ag . Short-term support for uninterrupted power system with generator backup 5. Pune Design parameters storage devices are shown in Regon’s plot of power density versus energy density. 4: Construction of a supercapacitor 4. Use of different electrolyte and self-discharge application areas 1. Scientists and engineers are looking for devices beyond these.Power Fig. long-duration requirements Fig. Electric vehicles (starting/regenerative braking) 3. 2: Power flow in a typical electric vehicle with supercapacitor Fig. Fig. The Li-ion battery will replace the conventional lead-acid battery in the near future. it stands a bright chance of becoming the nextgeneration electrical energy storage device. At sharp turns on electric traction 4. respectively.

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